It would, perhaps, be easy to feel a little draggy this week---it has been highly busy and my body has been expending its energy adjusting to phases of pregnancy that I never experienced with Katie due to her early arrival.
Yet I have been reminded many times this week in direct and indirect ways that so much of our attitude and disposition is what we make it. On Saturday at the Toastmasters Learning Institute (our officer's training), I had the privilege of hearing speaker Sheryl Roush whose optimism and energy immediately captivated me and made me a fan. She is a nationally ranked speaker and entreprenuer who focuses on the idea of cultivating one's "Sparkle-Tude." I have thought countless times since Saturday of my attitude and how to keep it sparkling and full of luster. While many a cynic would undoubtedly find some of the Sparkle-Tude philosophy cloying, I go all in for things like that. Why not choose to frame events and one's life in the most positive way?
Additionally, on Tuesday I then heard an entirely different kind of speech by our very own Toast of the Valley's Bob Freel, a DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster) who is highly decorated from his work in speech competitions. I usually enjoy Bob speaking on any topic---he's that kind of speaker---but on Tuesday for our Open House he delivered one of the most memorable speeches I think I will ever hear. He spoke of his time in Vietnam, of being the only survivor in a group of men...actually, I will stop there, for his story is really just for him to tell. I could not do it justice. Suffice it to say, I really understood for the first time in my whole life what our government has asked its young men to bear---for the rest of their lives. I guess being in my third decade now, I understand how young the early 20s really are. I used to hate it when people would say that, but 18-22 year old men are still the young sons of mothers everywhere. Bob was braver than I have ever been asked to be, not just at one pivotal moment as a soldier, but in carrying a burden his whole life so the rest of us don't have to. His speech took me to a place of real understanding, and I cried nearly the whole time he was presenting. His speech also put into perspective my everyday trials and my joys, too. There is absolutely no excuse for me ever to focus on petty things, the minor bumps in my life---not after hearing Bob's speech. On the other hand, he sacrificed so that I would have the freedom to focus on both the petty and the pretty---and I guess that is part of what made me cry also. His message is not one I will soon forget.
Too, I have been moved by how beautiful these summer days are and how life constantly flows in a balance. Do we not have the power to transform irritations into something joyous? Can we not choose to find the good in every situation?
With that theme in mind, here are some transformations I have endeavored to enact this week:
1) A virus on my computer which rendered it unusable for about a day TRANSFORMS into a loving husband who spent hours fixing it and actually making it run faster when all was said and done. (Also, I had access to my iPod Touch---otherwise, this transformation might have been difficult to make).
2) Soreness and sluggishness from the last couple of weeks of pregnancy TRANSFORMS into appreciation for Eric's life and for the fact that he continues to grow in these crucial last weeks, finishing the development of his brain and lungs and immunity. The universe will decide when he is to arrive, not me---so who am I to complain? I try to keep it all in perspective. I actually am hoping and asking him to stay in there as long as he needs to or can, no matter how my body feels. I know each day he gets stronger---so what's a little pelvic pain? Any moments of discomfort we bear as pregnant mothers is short-lived, and it is our duty to bear it. We were made to bear it, just as---I believe---we were made to bear labor. Besides, I happen to know that the discomfort I feel in these last weeks is nothing---nothing---compared to natural labor. My body is training itself for that moment: it is part of the design of women and the plan by which we are the life-bearers. I must look on every soreness as part of that design and part of the journey that will help me to deliver Eric physically and mentally in the way I delivered my Katie. Each twinge of my body reinforces the strong mental attitude I know I need in order to birth him without drugs...so therefore I can only be thankful for all that I am feeling now. It is nature's way of training me.
3) Waking up at 4:00 AM daily TRANSFORMS into reading and falling back to sleep cuddling my sweet little Katie June. It also tranforms into cause for deep and peaceful afternoon naps.
4) Cleaning the master bathroom TRANSFORMS into meditation and peacefulness and productivity. But it sure is hard to bend over at this stage of pregnancy. It is quite difficult to get up and down with any kind of celerity, more than I ever imagined.
5) Finding some black widow spiders in our backyard TRANSFORMS into an opportunity to teach Katie about basic safety (and neurotoxins---yay!)
6) Eating the much-anticipated and delicious eggplant parmesan I made but then having heartburn all night long TRANSFORMS into a need to consume ice cream the next to neutralize the acids with the milk base. Am I right, ladies? ;-)
And so on.
Other good things:
1) Bill came with Katie and me to Katie's gymnastics last week. She loved it and afterwards we all went out to breakfast at Penfold's.
2) Foot rubs
3) Swimming with my girl
4) Being all packed for the hospital with a list written out of last minute items
5) Overall, I am thankful for my health and feeling great and that I have been able to live as passionately as I want to so far along into pregnancy. I have been energetic for Katie most of the time. Even though I wrestled with extreme guilt today at needing to slow down and sit down, I know that I have tried my best for 9 months to be the mommy she deserves. We decorated her outdoor fort today, replenished the bird feeders, played imagination play, read books---and most of this I could do while sitting. I felt bad when she asks me to climb in the upper part of her fort and I decline---it is just that I know it isn't too safe and getting down would be a chore. I hope she can continue to be patient with me...
6) A successful Toastmasters Open House yesterday! I am going to miss my companions while I am away...
Anyway, here is a picture of Eric and me at 37 weeks, taken earlier last week. He is a big little guy. The OB was estimating him at between 7.5 and 8 pounds last weeks. Whew! See what I mean about nature needing to train me to birth him? Katie was only 6 lbs 12 oz. My small pumpkin.